Transformers Survivor 2010

JP, winner of the 1st round
Lerato makes her opening remarks

On Monday the 22nd of November, Transformers members and guests took to the stage in the Transformers Survivor 2010 Contest.

Tea-light candles and an array of colourful headdresses filled the room as participants tried their best to outdo each other in what has become an annual event on the club's calendar. Making his appearance again this year was Santa, in all his Lindt chocolate glory, and he took his position again at the front of the stage.

Another returning item was the survivor pot, whose depths held the answers to who was still in the contest.

Keith opens with fire

Ruth takes a gamble

10 contestants entered their names into the pot for 2010, and once the formalities of the contest forms and rules had been explained it was all systems go.

The participants for Transformers Survivor 2010 were:
Keith Bowen, Nontu Made, Jim Powell, Glenice Ebedes, John-Peter Gernaat (aka Laughter Dude), Ruth Taylor, Lerato Molefe, Mary Byrne, Jacques Velleman and Lorna Ellis.

1st time Survivor Lorna Ellis
1st time Survivor Jacques Velleman

The first round required the use of visual aids. Each participant received their own impromptu powerpoint presentation with a refreshing new set of images, many of which pertained to events that had occurred in the past year. Famous South Africans such as Siphiwe Tshabalala and Leon Schuster filled the screen, whilst new quotes and figures kept every speaker guessing.

One after the other speakers lined up to take a shot at weaving a story around the strange, funny, and often ridiculous slides, and after the dust had settled, 6 contestants survived:
Keith, Jim, Glenice, Mary, John-Peter and Jacques.

Jim Powell explaining that sound
Glenice through to round 2

A recess and snacks filled the gap before the 2nd round of vocal variety and body language took place.
This time, contestants were asked to choose between two bowls, each containing a sound effect. The choice, was either "Animal", or "Mineral" and the subsequent sound effects depicted either the sound of an unknown creature, or that of an unknown non-creature.

Contestants were then asked to explain what was making the sound, and why it was important to the sustainability of the earth.
As the sounds played, contestants launched into their illustrations, describing in detail everything from ancient creatures to incredible science experiments, all with a view to saving the earth.

Everyone gave outstanding performances, and when the sounds had finally died down, and the judges had had their say, 3 survivors made it into the final:
Jacques, Mary and John-Peter.

The final round was a combination of all that had come before, but this time included props.
The 3 finalists were asked to present to the world their incredible discovery of an ancient scripture found on the island, using a visual aid depicting the location, a supporting object they had found nearby, and the scripture itself.

Jacques' lost scroll discovery
Mary explains the missing diary

Jacques found an ancient scroll lying on a hidden beach. A pine cone lying nearby provided a clue to the original writer's intentions.

John-Peter described the Mesopotamian inscription he had found in a cave, with a strange feather lying nearby.

Finally Mary took up the tail with her story of the lost diary entry and the strange rock found alongside it in the forest.

By audience vote, the results were:
3rd Place - John-Peter Gernaat
2nd Place - Jacques Velleman
1st Place - Mary Byrne

Mary Byrne - Winner of
Transformers Survivor 2010!
Ruth recieves her triple crown!

John-Peter won the prize for winner of the first round - with a score that was "off-the-charts" as one rules official put it!

Two raffles were also held, with Jenny Shiers and Ruth Taylor taking the spoils.
Ruth was then awarded her Triple Crown certificate, an outstanding achievement for the year!
The gavel was then handed back to the President to wrap-up the evening.
A big thanks goes to all those who assisted on the night, as well as to all the participants.
It certainly proved that impromptu speaking is a skill that can be learned, and to watch some our members try their hand in this context was rewarding for all.

Transformers holds it's final meeting on the 13th of December and all guests and visitors are welcome.
If we don't see you then, have a wonderful Christmas, and fantastic new year.

Important events

Here are some important dates to take note of:

22nd November 2010 is the annual Transformers Survivor Contest. This contest is open to anyone who thinks they can give a good impromptu speech. The contest takes place on a tropical island so come dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts, bandanna, hat and hula skirt. To confirm attendance as a contestant or audience email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

16th December 2010 is our clubs member end of year function. It will be a breakfast. Please inform a committee member that you plan to attend.

29th January 2011 is Club Officer Training. If you’d like to know more about how Toastmasters works put you name down for COT, even if you are not yet ready to become a club officer next year. This is an interesting and motivational morning.

28th February 2011 is our club International Prepared English Speech Contest, Impromptu Speech Contest and Evaluation Speech Contest. Now is the time to begin preparing your Prepared Speech if you plan to enter. Speak with the Vice-president Education and your mentor and begin work. Look where it took Ryan Ebedes last year. You too can visit the US courtesy of Toastmasters International.


What is Speechcraft? Am I correct – that is what I heard you ask?

Speechcraft is a training programme offered by Toastmasters to non-Toastmasters. It is a programme that covers the basic skills of public speaking. Like the Toastmasters programme, it teaches through practice. The Speechcraft programme may include four, six or eight sessions.

For the first time District 74 has a dedicated Speechcraft Coordinator this year in the person of Robin Prowse. Transformers indicated to Robin that we were eager to present a Speechcraft programme and Robin introduced us to Diesel-Electric. Diesel-Electric have been running Speechcraft programmes for their staff for several years and their Sale Director, Fred Bengsch, reports a discernible difference between staff who have completed the programme and those who have not.

On 4th October John-Peter Gernaat, Jim Powell, Keith Bowen and Glenice Ebedes met Robin at Diesel-Electric in Wynberg and were introduced to seven participants in the programme. During the next six weeks we coached these ‘Speechcrafters’ through impromptu speaking, the basic requirements of prepared speeches and the necessary listening skills to evaluate a prepared speech. The Speechcrafters introduced themselves in a prepared Icebreaker speech, then learned to overcome nervousness by speaking earnestly about a subject they were knowledgeable about. Thereafter the lessons in public speaking began as the Speechcrafters had to organize their speeches with an opening, a body consisting of sequential points and a conclusion, which rounds off the speech. The penultimate speech enabled the Speechcrafters to practise gestures, body movement and body language as an integral part of a speech. For the final speech they combined everything they had learned into a speech in which they experimented with vocal variety – voice volume, pitch, quality and speaking rate as well as the use of pause.

As Monday followed Monday we as Toastmasters, with Mary Byrne and Ryan Ebedes joining in a few of the sessions, witnessed the Speechcrafters progressing in their speaking abilities. At the conclusion of the programme our Division H Governor, Jenny Shiers, Fred Bengsch of Diesel-Electric and Robin Prowse spoke to the Speechcrafters about the value of the skill of public speaking. These motivational speeches encouraged not only the Speechcrafters but also the Toastmasters in their commitment to this worthy craft.

Speechcraft is a programme through which Toastmasters clubs may charge a company a fee, which is also to the benefit of the club. This enables clubs to purchase a library of Toastmasters manuals, for example.

For Transformers Toastmasters Club this Speechcraft programme is intended as the first in an ongoing effort to spread the skills of public speaking, create awareness of Toastmasters and boost our coffers to the benefit of our club and its members.

New Beginnings and a night of tales

Transformers met for the 590th time on Monday, 27th September. –Yes, in March we celebrate 600 meetings and in April 30 years.– We had 3 guests and at our next meeting we’ll have 2 new members. Having a great club with a friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable, stalwart members is an asset.

The theme of the evening was “Spring, a time of new beginnings”. Our toastmaster for the evening, John-Peter Gernaat shared how calendars are connected to the seasons with many starting the year in spring. He followed this with inspirational quotes about new beginnings and then brought the task home to the members to refocus on their goals for the Toastmasters year that is now a quarter of the way through. Could this be because he is also VPE?

Keith Bowen DTM gave tribute to water in the Toast of the Evening. Water and plants are amazing: noticed how the world in Gauteng is green with spring foliage and yet there has not yet been any rain.

The first prepared speech of the evening was given by Lerato Molefe in fulfillment of the requirements of a Competent Communicator project 3. She spoke without notes and explained the many benefits of taking up a hobby; benefits for our social life, our health or fitness and for our personal enrichment. She then brought the subject home with examples from her own life and the hobbies she has recently taken up. She received a glowing evaluation from Keith Bowen and received the trophies for Best Speaker and Most Improved Speaker for the evening.

Glenice Ebedes, fulfilling a project from the Specialty Speeches Advanced Manual, gave us a reading from Jody Picaults book 'House Rules'. The book is about Jacob Hunt - a boy with high-functioning autism - who is accused of murder. The reading was of Jacob describing himself. The passage was very compelling and was given a superb reading by Glenice which was competently evaluated by Lerato in her very first Evaluation Speech.

Then followed the tale of the evening: Rod Taylor DTM telling us a Folk Tale in fulfillment of a project from the Storytelling Advanced Manual. The tale was about a witch and a love affair and ended happily. Which witch you may well ask? Well, there are only two kinds of witches if you exclude the third kind. The third kind are Sand Witches of the desert regions and do not feature in this tale. The two kinds are bad witches and good witches although some good witches are not always good as this tale tells; well, there intentions are good but their skills do not always match their intentions with interesting consequences. Rod told the tale seated and succeeded in drawing everyone into his tale. Whether it is an original tale or a tale he tells Ruth’s son at bedtime he did not elucidate (Oh, by the way, that was the word of the evening selected by Lexicologist of the Evening, Ryan Ebedes!).

Ruth Taylor DTM had participants of the Table Topics digging into personal anecdotes when she handed out a set of topics that included the bicycle safety, the holiday from Hell (De Hell - that little place in the Swartberg mountains of the Little Karoo), the first kiss, favorite pet, favorite meal and ghost stories. Cheryl-Lynn won the trophy of best Impromptu Speaker (as well as Best Evaluator for the evaluation of Rod's tale) with a tale of the Dance of the White Sheet to appease a ghost in a pub in Pietermaritzburg that scared the wits out of the new, out-of-town owner of the pub.

Transformers will be running the first Speechcraft course in many years for a company starting on Monday, 4th October for 6 consecutive Mondays. Speechcraft is a programme designed to teach public speaking skills. During the programme, participants present three to six speeches, introduce other speakers and serve as evaluators. They also participate in Table Topics. This programme offers an outreach by Toastmasters to the public to teach the skills that has made Toastmasters so successful for over 80 years with over 12,500 clubs and more than 260,000 members in 113 countries.

Transformers Toastmasters next meeting is on Monday, 11th October and guests and visitors are always welcome. Come and enjoy the variety of speeches and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere.